indoor 1

Press release:

On Saturday, April 6, 2013, the Newburgh Rowing Club will host the Eastern NYS Indoor Rowing Championship at the City of Newburgh Activities Center, located at Delano-Hitch Park, 401 Washington Street.

“We are pleased to be working with the City of Newburgh to host this great athletic event,” said Newburgh Rowing Programs Director and NFA Varsity Crew Team Head Coach Ed Kennedy.  “This event has turned into the largest indoor rowing event in the Hudson Valley.  Last year, we hosted well over 300 athlete participants, from teams throughout the Hudson Valley Rowing League, from ages 9 to 65.  We had teams from Kingston, Warwick, O’Neill, Rhinebeck, North Rockland, Clarkstown, and of course, NFA Varsity Crew, Newburgh Rowing Club and the San Miguel Academy Crew Teams, all from Newburgh.”

“It’s a tremendous effort,”  said Coach Kennedy.  “Coach Keith Schafer, who also has two rowers on the team, does a phenomenal job, along with Mr. Danza, who has two rowers on the team, setting up the ergometers (indoor rowing machines) and computers, so that as the athletes row on indoor machines, they can watch their “boat” on the TV screen overhead to see who is in the lead.  Newburgh Rowing has also upgraded all of the indoor machines and equipment, which we will be bringing to the meet.  Two years ago, we had a world record set by a young lady from Chicago at our indoor meet.  She came out from Chicago just to set the world record.  It’s a huge event and we’re delighted to be hosting it once again.”

Last year, the NFA Varsity Crew Team won the overall event.

The public and the community are invited to come out and enjoy the all day event, which starts with registration at 8 am.  “The event is open to the public and free to spectators,” said NFA Varsity Crew Team Mom Juliana LoBiondo.    “The NFA Crew Team parents will be selling raffle tickets for our new ‘Mega-Raffle,’ which has two prizes, a Mini Ipad and a Retina-Display Ipad, for just $2.00 per chance.  We will also be selling food and merchandise, all to benefit the Crew Team.  Also, Coach Kennedy always donates a portion of the proceeds to Make A Wish Foundation.  Last year, the NFA Crew Team raised over $300.00 for the Make A Wish Foundation.”

The NFA Varsity Crew Team is the only 100% community funded varsity team at NFA.

For more information on the NFA Varsity Crew Team or the Indoor meet, contact Coach Ed Kennedy at (845) 541-2313 or Team Mom Juliana LoBiondo at


How amazing are these two guys and their creation!

“Ben Siper (Manager/Driver) and Conor Shafer (Driver) of the Newburgh Free Academy Concept Vehicle Racing Team (NFA CVRT) of the Urban Concept Division ready themselves , their teammates and their vehicle for the Shell EcoMarathon, held from April 3 until April 7, 2013 in Houston, Texas.  Participating in this new division has already been challenging in designing, building and preparing the new vehicle in time for the challenge.  The NFA CVRT has two entries in the Shell Eco Marathon this year, one in the Urban Concept Division and one in the Prototype Division and plan on defending their 2012 Prototype Champions of the Americas title again this year.”

-Press release by Kerry Butrick

02/28/13 11:45am


Paul Ernenwein is an attorney and father of two gorgeous girls that go to the Newburgh Enlarged City School District (NECSD). He is a supporter of the NECSD, and holds no posts on a school board or committee. His opinions are his own genuine feelings as a parent.

What is you and your wife’s professional background?

I am a local practicing attorney. A litigator with Tarshis, Catania, Liberth and Milligram PLLC here in Newburgh.  I attended Newburgh Free Academy (NFA), Albany University and Western New England School of Law.   I then moved to NYC and was a Bronx Prosecutor, an ADA in the Bronx from 1995-2000.  My wife Hyun Chin graduated from Vassar College, Temple Law School and then moved to NYC to become a Bronx Prosecutor where we met.  She is Korean American, grew up in Philadelphia, PA.  Hyun Chin is an Assistant County Attorney in Orange County.

How long has your family been living in Newburgh?

I grew up in Newburgh and attended the NECSD K-12. Upon graduation I moved to Albany, Syracuse, Albany, Springfield MA, Manhattan, Queens, Bronx.  Hyun Chin and I lived together in the Bronx and then moved to Newburgh in 2000.  My mother grew up in Newburgh and my Grandmother grew up in Newburgh.  My great grandparents moved to Newburgh in 1918.  From the time my Grandmother lived in Newburgh, Newburgh Schools had a very diverse population.  Diversity of race, religion, socio economic and a significant immigrant population.

How many children do you have enrolled in school?

We have two daughters.  Age 11, a 6th grader at South Middle School and Age 9, a fourth grader at Fostertown school.

You are a graduate of NECSD. Tell me a little bit about your own experience. What was it like? What year did you graduate?

I graduated in 1987.  Only a few years prior to my entering Junior High School, Newburgh experienced debilitating race riots.  The National Guard patrolled the streets and the schools, literally mounted on the roof of our High School, armed with loaded rifles and full gear.  I recall older kids staying home for the week of “Oktoberfest”, which was the colloquial  term the kids used to describe the fall riots.  While I was witness to plenty of fights and other difficult situations, my overall experience and education could not have been more positive.  Access to the best education, the best High School extra-curricular opportunities, the best teachers, the best sports, lifelong friends and an atmosphere that built experience, knowledge, appreciation, perspective and self esteem.

6th grade

Paul’s 6th grade class photo

What towns/areas are included in the NECSD?

The Town of New Windsor, City of Newburgh, Town of Newburgh.

What are common misconceptions about the NECSD? Are any of them valid?

There is a common misconception about Newburgh Schools that they are dangerous.  This is simply not true.  They are not dangerous.  Other than anecdotal stories about young people who may or may not be attending the school district, committing crimes or fighting outside of school within the City of Newburgh, the schools are vigilant and safe.  The schools have a significant immigrant and poor population. If you hate immigrants and or poor people you should not be sending your child to the Newburgh school district. The school system has a low graduation rate and low college admittance rate.  There is misconception by the ignorant  and uninformed that if their child attends the same school with children whose parents are not English speakers, who are poor, who do not have strong family support, who will not graduate, who have no ability or intention to go to college, that is will corrupt their child, transfer to their child like cooties and disrupt their education and future.

Why do you send your children to NECSD and not a private school? What are the advantages in your eyes? Why is it important your children attend a diverse school?

The NECSD provides, superior education, opportunity, exposure, knowledge, wisdom, experience, appreciation and perspective.  We are hopeful that our kids will attend an Ivy league school or its equivalent and an advanced degree graduate school program. They already know the names of the Ivy league schools and talk about where they would like to go. The NECSD provides the best education for those willing and able to take advantage of it, has the best teachers, facilities, resources, cultural opportunities, athletics there is.  The schools are safe, provide the best possible education in an atmosphere of diversity of, race, religion, ethnicity, socio economics.   My children have an Asian looking mother and a Caucasian looking father.  They have a family background that observes cultural exposure to Judaism, Catholicism, Buddhism, Korean, Irish, German and multiple other ethnicities.  This diversity is the norm in America, New York State and in the NECSD.  Their own family background involves those who generations ago were impoverished, who were immigrants who were wealthy, who have been a part of American history and the fabric of America for 200 years.  The NECSD is safe and provides a superior education which it must in order for us to have our children here.   The diversity and exposure provides to them pride, strength of character, walking around sense,  wisdom, self esteem unlike any other local school district.

Paul and his buddies from 1987 class

Paul and his buddies from 1987 class

How does the Newburgh Magnet School System work and what do you like and dislike about it?

The Magnet systems provides concentration of education particular to each of the different elementary schools and allows students to attend any one of the schools around the district regardless of what neighborhood they are from. This results in no “neighborhood schools” where everyone in the neighborhood attends the same school.  This is unfortunate socially, preventing neighbors to be invested with each other in the same school.  However, this has tremendous value in exposing diversity starting in Kindergarten and forging friendships across the district  regardless of neighborhood concentrations of similar socio economics, race or ethnicity.

What advice would you give parents who are considering moving to Newburgh and sending their children to NECSD?

Each family, family dynamic, child, student is different and may have different needs and different comfort levels.  However, if you speak to those of us in the district, if you visit the schools and speak to teachers you will receive an understanding of the school district atmosphere.  If you believe in building the whole child, with superior education, opportunity and comprehensive exposure to art, music, theatre, culture, athletics and pride accompanied by exposure to positive diversity, real world experience, knowledge, sense, wisdom, esteem, understanding, and appreciation, you will learn there is not another  school district in the area that comes close.

PR SouthBullying

Newburgh Enlarged City School District Superintendent of Schools Ralph Pizzo recently announced the district’s support of Orange County’s participation in No Name Calling Week from January 28 through February 1. No Name Calling Week is a national initiative to stem the tide of bullying.

South Middle School answered the call by holding a week of “No Name Calling” activities including a “Keeping A Lid On Disrespect” activity. The students vowed to stop all forms of disrespect including: using hurtful language toward others, laughing at others and being unkind.

The week ended on Friday, February 1, with a Funny Hat Day competition. Since hats are often referred to as ‘lids’, the theme was a clever play on words. Winners were judged on originality and creativity of their hat designs. The grand prize winner was Matthew Stridiron, with runners up being Isabel Medina, Maura Pasqualiccio and Gabby Bedetti.

-Press release by Kerry Butrick


Students from Newburgh Free Academy Choir Perform at SUNY New Paltz

New Paltz, NY: Members of the Newburgh Free Academy Choir caught a ride on the Underground Railroad this weekend, and stole a glimpse of college level production as well. The performance at Studley Theatre at SUNY New Paltz was a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and African American History Month. The afternoon concert played on into the evening – a soundtrack of hymns, blues and ragtime rubbed against a narrative journey through the progression of enslavement. The show carried themes of freedom, hope and deliverance.

Ticket lines were out the door at the campus performance hall, pushing start-time back approximately half an hour. College President Donald Christiansan welcomed the crowd.  Professor A.J. Williams-Meyers from the Black Studies Department spoke in emphatic prose about slavery pushing deep into the joyful noise of freedom furthermore asking everyone in attendance to turn to someone nearby and say, ‘together we will.’ To which the packed house complied.

Dr. Nkeiru Okoye – director of Music Theory and Composition at SUNY New Paltz- debuted a series of Songs of Harriet Tubman and creating a mood of enlightenment. Guest performer Ashley Horne – a renowned violinist – brought lightheartedness to the instrument during each of his solo performances standing center stage each time with a quiet smile across his lips.

eatonNewburgh Free Academy choir director Jillian Caci stepped in to conduct several numbers on behalf of scheduled conductor Harvey Felder who was held up by snow-related obstacles in Connecticut.  She didn’t miss a beat when she was met on stage by Mezzo-soprano Patrice Eaton and the Pone Ensemble for New Music who played alongside the high school singers for two numbers including Wade in the Water (arr. Chandler Carter) and Go Down Moses (arr. Samuel Nathan). Eaton gave an impassioned performance reaching her vibrato high into the balcony of the theater, sounds of liberation ringing out in triumph over unarguable historical heartbreak that befell human beings during times of slavery. The students provided a softly lit backdrop for the mighty soloist. Despite having missed dress rehearsal Friday thanks to Nemo the parts all blended beautifully.

Article by Stefanie Pearl – Publisher at

PR NECSDEnergyEffGrant

On Friday, January 18, 2013, the Newburgh Enlarged City School District (NECSD) held a recognition ceremony in appreciation of the contributions and support towards the district’s attainment of the 2013-2015 School District Management Efficiency Grant from the New York State Education Department.

The School District Management Efficiency Grant for school districts was based upon school district initiatives that invest in and adopt quantifiable, efficiency measures and programs which re-direct resources to education. The first year’s grant award is for $1.2 million and is the first of a potential $3.6 million over the three-year period, providing each district sustains and demonstrates its accomplished levels of efficiency.

“The Newburgh Enlarged City School District has been extremely successful reducing costs and increasing efficiency in a number of areas including transportation, administrative costs, and energy consumption. All are significant costs centers in our school fiscal profile which required your vigilant participation and support,” explained Superintendent Ralph Pizzo.

The new efficiency approaches not only have to conserve expenditures, but in the process minimize the impact to instructional classrooms. Faculty and staff layoffs are not considered efficiency gains. “The results of these efficiencies will reallocate valuable resources back into our classrooms. On behalf of our entire school district community please accept our gratitude and appreciation,” Pizzo expressed to those in attendance.

“What I think is extremely rewarding and perhaps very rare is the variety of expertise from various groups which are represented including business, education, labor, energy, and administration,” described Roger Ramjug, NECSD Energy Project Facilitator. Under Ramjug’s guidance, the NECSD has succeeded in reducing energy consumption over the last four years, despite variables such as building construction activities. He continued, “Because of this widespread support, Newburgh earned money by saving money.”

-Press release by Kerry Butrick